Mumbai, June 24 (IANS) Indian football on Friday received a body blow as Goan club giants Salgaocar FC and Sporting Clube De Goa announced that they will not take part in the 2016-17 I-league season.
Sporting Goa finished fourth in the 2015-16 edition of the league while Salgaocar finished seventh.
Earlier last season, Pune FC and Bharat FC disbanded their first team operations, while Royal Wahingdoh, a team which finished third in the I-league table in the 2014-15 season, too opted to drop out of the tournament, reports goal.com.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) expressed regret and surprise over the sudden decision of Salgaocar SC and Sporting Clube de Goa to exit the tournament.
Terming it as a knee jerk and speculative reaction, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said, “We along with our marketing partners have been very transparent sharing our thoughts with all stakeholders regarding the way forward for Indian football. It was clearly stated that the shared draft was only a proposal ad we would like suggestions from various stakeholders. The AIFF has been receiving various suggestions and the last one was received only a week back.”
“Since it involves setting the road map for Indian football every aspect needs to be carefully considered. So the assumption made by the clubs that AIFF has not responded is presumptuous and speculative.”
Das also added that while “there is no denying the contribution made by the clubs who have been associated with Indian football for a long time, it was also evident that they were unable to create fan base to sustain themselves.”
“The purpose of the proposal was to enable Clubs to create a sustainable model for the future which has unfortunately been wrongly interpreted by some of the clubs.”
Reacting to the allegations of the clubs about financial matters, Sunando Dhar, CEO of I-league said, “The amount for fielding age-group sides in the respective competitions of AIFF which were pending since 2008, was agreed in an I-league committee meeting that the same would be adjusted against the I-league participation fees. This has been in practice for the last three-four years.”